Photo: Bheki Radebe/ANA

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), and the Western Cape Government have agreed to establish an enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure.

According to the City's statement, the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA), the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, Prasa, rail experts and business leaders converged in  an urgent rail summit which convened in Woodstock, Cape Town.

The cost to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months is estimated at R45 million.

"Details about how the dedicated enforcement unit will be funded, established and managed will be addressed in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PRASA, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works," the statement read. 

It is foreseen that the MOA will be finalised and signed within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron said the City is ready and willing to contribute R16 million to get this plan off the ground.

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"I have asked the TDA’s acting commissioner to reprioritise projects and to find the money somewhere in our budget, and he did. I am grateful that we have agreed on a starting point to address the safety and security issues to stabilise the urban rail service in the short term. A lot still needs to happen, but I think we have achieved our goal for the summit by agreeing on a plan of action that can be implemented as soon as possible," Herron added.

Mthuthuzeli Swartz, acting chief executive officer of Rail at Prasa also committed to contribute R3 million per month to the City for managing and deploying Metrorail’s security service personnel with immediate effect.  This fund will assist in training and efficient deployment of about 1 security personnel.

It is said that national department of environmental affiars will be building a wall along the most critical sections of the Central line to secure the infrastructure that has been under constant attack over the past few months.

The construction cost will amount to about R45 million.

All this was good news to the Metrorail's  Western Cape regional manager, Mr Richard Walker, who expressed his appreciation to his principals and welcomed the landmark addition of surveillance technology to increase the rate of conviction in the Western Cape region.

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The  Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant said, "Rail has the potential to provide rapid access to social and economic opportunities for a broad cross-section of society, contributing to an efficient, competitive and inclusive city and helping to overcome some of the continuing spatial divides. Now is the time for inter-governmental cooperation, in the spirit of the Constitution, and for the private sector and all other stakeholders to work with government to improve the situation".

Jon Williams, the head of cities and urbanisation at PWC Africa said that he hopes that the Friday's meeting will mark the next chapter in Cape Town’s integrated transport journey in which every parties affected must all play a part.

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-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE